1) Measures increasing penalties for illegal weapons possession and protecting people who report terrorist threats against schools are advancing. The bills have cleared the Senate Courts of Justice committee. The legislation comes from recommendations of the school safety task force created by Governor McDonnell.
2) State House Republicans are okay with Medicaid expansion but say the system needs to be fixed first. Delegate Chris Jones of Suffolk said yesterday reforms are necessary in order for expansion to happen. The state Senate has cleared the way for the state to expand the Medicaid program to more people not covered by health insurance in Virginia.
3) Governor McDonnell says he’s willing to compromise on a key detail of his $3 billion transportation package to get it through the state Senate. McDonnell said he would consider a plan that does not fully eliminate the state’s 17 1/2 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax. If legislators want to phase the gas tax out over time, or leave a reduced gas tax in place, McDonnell said he would consider it. McDonnell’s proposal calls for abolishing the gas tax and replacing the money by increasing the sales tax from 5 to 5.8 percent.